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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 August 2005, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Dallas' Miss Ellie dies of cancer
Barbara Bel Geddes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
She starred in the original on Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Barbara Bel Geddes, the US actress best known as matriarch Miss Ellie Ewing in the TV series Dallas, has died aged 82.

The former stage and screen actress died of lung cancer at her home in Northeast Harbor, Maine, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1948 drama I Remember Mama, and was the original Maggie the Cat on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

A long-running role in Dallas from 1978 brought her a new generation of fans.

"She was the rock of Dallas," Larry Hagman, who played JR Ewing, told the Associated Press.
Miss Bel Geddes' contribution to film will not soon be forgotten
Connie Howard

"She was just a really nice woman and a wonderful actress. She was kind of the glue that held the whole thing together."

She is reported to have died on Monday, although the news was not announced until Wednesday.

Worldwide fame

In 1945, Bel Geddes made a splash on Broadway with her first important role in Deep Are the Roots. The part won her the New York Drama Critics Award as best actress.

Bel Geddes also became a popular leading lady in films.

She starred in several, including the 1950 production Panic in the Streets and Alfred Hitchcock's mystery thriller Vertigo, in 1958.

"I went out to California awfully young," she remarked. "But I loved films."

Dallas came late in her career.

She was propelled to worldwide fame in one of the most popular dramas in the history of television, which ran for 13 years.

Bel Geddes won an Emmy in 1980 as best lead actress in a drama series.

In March 1984, Bel Geddes suffered a heart attack. But she returned to Dallas and remained until 1990, a year before CBS cancelled the show.

Bel Geddes was married twice and is survived by two daughters, Susan and Betsy.

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